Migraines: how much do they suck?


I had migraines for years, but following fires advice above, I documented them & strangely enough they were always on Sundays. Debilitating, knock me down, all I want to do is whimper & stay in a dark room for the day, drinking nothing but water.

I thought it was late night gaming, or late night drinking, or some thing, but it alluded me for years.

Then I was reading an article about Caffeine withdrawal and it totally clicked. I drink coffee every day Mon-Fri, but then I don’t drink on the weekends sometimes because I would sleep in and wouldn’t need it.

I decided that these were bad enough that I had two choices:

  1. Drink coffee all the time, and be essentially addicted to it.
  2. Switch to Decaf

i switched to Decaf & in rare instances (travelling to Costa Rica or India where Decaf isn’t in their vocabulary) where I have to drink normal coffee, I have to ween myself by going half-n-half for a few days to drop it again.

Hopefully this PSA helps someone else "click’ with a caffeine withdrawal and help them!


This almost sounds like cluster headaches.

What Happens
You get a cluster headache when a specific nerve pathway in the base of your brain is activated. That signal seems to come from a deeper part of the brain called the hypothalamus, where the “internal biological clock” that controls your sleep and wake cycles lives.

The nerve that’s affected, the trigeminal nerve, is responsible for sensations such as heat or pain in your face. It’s near your eye, and it branches up to your forehead, across your cheek, down your jaw line, and above your ear on the same side, too.

Cluster headaches generally reach their full force quickly – within 5 or 10 minutes.

The pain is almost always one-sided, and it stays on the same side during a period, the time when you’re getting daily attacks. (When a new headache period starts, it might switch to the opposite side, but that’s rare.) It’s often described as having a burning or piercing quality. It may be throbbing or constant.

(I’ve had terrible headaches since my 20’s that grew in intensity and frequency as I got older. I thought it was a sinus problem but was diagnosed with clusters by a neurologist.)


I had bad headaches when I was a kid, but they went away. I think it’s because I do less intensive reading/studying these days. Also, I use a big monitor and big font on my PC.


A few years ago I started getting headaches 4 or 5 times a week, occasionally going uninterrupted for over a week at a time. This would include the occasional migraine that incapacitated me for the day. At one point it got so bad I was being given MRIs to look for something serious. My blood pressure was also going off the charts, up to a “can you check the instrument is working ok?!” reading of 210/140 at one point.

At this point a new GP realised the blood pressure itself was the problem, and diagnosed me with hereditary hypertension (my dad suffered similar high BP). He put me on potassium tablets and within a week my BP was back to 120/80 and the headaches disappeared. I haven’t had a headache now for maybe five years! (slightly too much wine on occasion notwithstanding). High blood pressure, exacerbated by stress, was behind it all.


I brought back from my travels very light, hardly qualifying as migraines, pains on the left side. It changed today with my first quite stronger one, on the right side strangely. I had mild pain for the past two days (and two bouts of insomnia on top of that) and then when I visited my mother and my sister, it suddenly began: something was throbbing behind most of the right side of my face, very strongly behind the eye socket, down the sinus, to the teeth. Noise wasn’t too much of a problem, excepting for a slight pain in the right ear, but light? Oh my god, light… It was dark in the night, but any slight source was still an issue. I rested a few hours then, the throbbing gone, I could walk slowly to my home.
I sure hope I won’t experience this again anytime soon.


Sorry to hear that, man. Were there any triggers during or after your travels? Food or weather related? Let’s hope you’re right and it doesn’t reoccur.

I suffer migraines and fortunately they have faded in frequency over the years. I’m down to about 10 or less a year. I no longer take Imitrex, just over the counter medicine. I’m very thankful for that, Imitrex left me very messed up feeling throughout the times I took it.


Traveling is a ton of disruptions. You’re probably messing with your sleep cycle, so if getting good sleep is a trigger for you, you’re hosed. You’re sleeping in a new place, probably with disruptions. You’re eating weird things, at weird times. You’re stressed. You’re exposed to other people and the smelly things that they wear on their bodies. And if you’re traveling by plane or train or bus, you’re sitting in a cabin pumped full of… of… of the stuff that makes it so things don’t burst into flames.* And since you’re doing all those things at the same time, it becomes more likely that your brain lowers its defenses.

[* The part of my brain that comes up with words has a hard time when migraines happen. Turns out, it also has a hard time parsing grammatically ambiguous sentences.]


Amen to that. It hits a ton of my triggers too. Different foods, weather changes, different sleep cycles, usually more caffeine and/or alcohol, etc.

Do any of you take anything different than over the counter medications for your migraines?


I take 10mg propranolol three times a day as a preventative measure, and still get 2-3 migraines every month or two (they cluster together). When I have a migraine I’ll take some combination of 600mg ibuprofen and whatever’s in that awful little white sumatriptan pill which makes my skin hurt and brain numb.


Hrm … my doc has mentioned that to me since I also have high blood pressure and he things that would be a better fit for me due to migraines as well. I’ll quiz him about it more.


Do you use an app or log or anything to keep track of when you get migraines?


My 100mg of sumatriptan doesn’t make things go that badly for me, but it does my skin feel weird and the rest of me very cold. Cutting them in half still handles my migraines just fine and kills most of the side effects too.

And yeah, air travel almost always gives me a headache. The more stressful the trip, the worse it is going to be.


I don’t not, no. I did many years ago as part of the, “help me find my triggers,” exercise. Strangely, the more I’ve given up attempting to handle triggers, the less migraines I’ve had, yearly.

In all honesty I think it had more to do with blood pressure, job stress, and non-food factors than I had thought originally, and thus now I simply have less migraines.


I used to get frequent headaches as a kid. I have simply grown out of them I guess. I had one earlier this year, and that was the only recent one I remember.


I get about four migraines a year, on average, which are almost exclusively related to stress. This can be both negative stress (a high-profile presentation I need to give, an important meeting, whatever) and positive anticipation (a party I have been looking forward to, going on a long-anticipated holiday etc). Haven’t found any decisive trigger foods yet (for my mother, it’s coconut: she can literally go and lie down when she happens to eat some of that).

Four times a year is not that bad, in fact, compared to having weekly attacks like Fire, I feel like I’m not even allowed to be in this thread. When I get a migraine, I take two Ibruprofen/Lysine pills (which is the basic English anti-migraine stuff, sold in supermarkets). That works wonders for me: after the aurae have melted away I can continue whatever I’m doing without too many problems. That is helped by the fact that my migraines are considerably less painful then they used to be. It’s the two full days of feeling absolutely rotten afterwards that are most bothersome now, not in the least because those two days make me wonder what the hell has happened that my body needs to recover from it that long… That scares me a bit sometimes.


I got them from excessive exertion. It started after I went down hard from a right hook to the temple. Since then, when I push too hard either in sports, or just working, I pay with terrible migraine the next day. Blurry unfocussed vision, spots, then the onset of headache. exploding head headache.
So I quit fighting (sparring was a certain recipe) and only very carefully exercise.



Oui, comme ca.


Ugh, yes. The stress on my body is enough to trigger more migraines if I don’t get some decent, uninterrupted, solid rebound sleep.

Does anyone else feel they need to sleep for many hours during/after a migraine?


Yes! (Screaming the answer but you can’t hear it.)

I occasionally have to take a sick day due to migraines. There are so many people that don’t understand, “I slept the entire afternoon after the headache eased a bit.”

I’ve learned to just keep my mouth shut and say, “yeah I was sick yesterday.”